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With enterprises increasingly recognizing the inflated costs associated with uncontrolled printing, there's been a shift to specialist managed print services (MPS) providers over the last few years. Also, intricacies of having offices at multiple geographical locations with printing devices, consumables (paper, cartridge etc) and services from different vendors further necessitates a solution like this. MPS like other managed services is offered by domain experts to an organization that wants their printing infrastructure to be managed outside.

This helps organization focus on their core business instead of waisting time and money in maintaining printing infrastructure. Using MPS, organizations can save up to 30-40% cost on printing related activities annually.

Getting started
Once you have decided to outsource your printing, the first step is to zero down on a reliable vendor that can provide printing support across all locations. Vendors in the printing domain that offer MPS include Cannon, HP, Xerox, WeP etc. The vendor analyzes printing needs of your organization and negotiates on service level agreement and sign. An organization can opt for printing service in different modes. If you are starting a new branch, then instead of buying new printer you can ask your MPS vendor to provide printers inside your premises. This not only saves initial investment on printers but also enables branches to be functional instantly. Organizations can also opt to print inside vendor premises if information to be printed is not critical (this model is not good for the BFSI segment).One more option is to get a new printing unit installed inside your premises for fixed amount of time when printing requirement is very high. However, you can also go for pay-per-print model, where a fixed amount is charged per print.

Included services
Services that are provided by an MPS provider include: maintenance of printing units across all locations that include managing and providing printing paper and cartridges, replacement or repair of damaged unit, providing a consolidated bill that gives visibility to top management about actual spending on printing. Besides taking care of printing needs, MPS providers also include number of different services. They provide consolidated reports like a dedicated web page that keeps track of printing activities, few MPS vendors (like Canon ) also give facility of remote monitoring of printer units using advanced software. This gives the MPS provider visibility, and so they can easily track and resolve faults. Complete life cycle asset management service is also provided, which includes providing support to any acquisition, movement and changes to devices, as well as the disposal of unused devices provided by different vendors. Through such managed service, device capacity can be scaled to meet requirements. By measuring your usage of a device, an MPS provider can either simply maintain or replace it with a larger or smaller device to match your organizations demand. This enables customization of the services to meet your unique business needs. With a choice of multiple financing options, there is no need to lock up capital in the infrastructure.

MPS in India is at an early stage of adoption. As most organizations in India still view MPS as an alternative way to procure printers, they give the strategic long term benefits of offering a miss, indicating the lack of awareness about the same. There is a clear need for education among the enterprises on the benefits of MPS, more so during the economic downturn

Puneet Datta, Senior Marketing Manager, Canon BIS Division

An MPS can provide you comprehensive mobile print strategy, utilizing full range of mobile printing solutions to your organization. Instead of having disconnected set of mobile print solutions, an MPS will work with you to define an integrated mobile print infrastructure to meet your specific business needs. Employees gain seamless access to network printers, wired or wireless.

To streamline communication with a client, MPS providers assign dedicated client service managers that acts as a single point of contact. Client manager is responsible to keep track of device fleet and take preventive measures to ensure hassle free services to a client. Regular audits are carried out by him to keep track on changing demands of client and to provide appropriate

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